MGF engineers looking at a computer

Coming to a head: Perfect Storm for Temporary Works?

MGF’s Engineering Director, Steve Hesketh has written his latest Viewpoint Column for the New Civil Engineer Magazine Spring Edition discussing some new changes in legislation and how they affect the temporary works industry.

Coming to a head: Perfect Storm for Temporary Works?

It is now almost 40 years since the Bragg Report was famously published setting out how the construction industry should plan and manage temporary works.

In 2015 the UK enjoys an enviable reputation world­wide for safety and excellence in temporary works, due to this approach and the influence of the Health & Safety Executive (HSE).

However, this approach is now being challenged. At the heart of the challenge is how does the UK temporary works management process cope with the introduction of Eurocodes, building informa­tion modelling (BIM) and the Construction Design and Management Regulations 2015? Could this changing environment be creating a perfect storm for temporary works designers and suppliers?

Office workers sat at computers in an office working on digital designs

The adoption of Eurocodes presents temporary works designers and suppliers in the UK with two problems, firstly the Eurocodes do not differen­tiate between permanent and temporary works and secondly there are no execution standards for managing temporary works. Experience tells us that temporary and permanent works are very different, and that unless carefully executed, disasters can inevitably occur.

BIM is transforming temporary works. The ability to model and visualise construction sequences incorporating the temporary works elements presents huge opportunities for greater efficiencies and improved safety. Making the best use of this technology and embed­ding agreed temporary works management processes within it are essential.

By all accounts the new CDM 2015 legislation will be passed in April just before the General Election. For the first time a Principal Designer must be appointed and the responsibility for co-ordinat­ing the temporary works designs falls directly at their feet. This is potentially placing responsibility with Principal Designers who may have inadequate understand­ing of temporary works and therefore the potential implications of this need to be addressed immediately.

However, the temporary works community is not sitting back on these changes. These issues are currently being vigorously debated within the Temporary Works Forum (TWF)and the Construction Plant Hire Association’s Shoring Technology Interest Group. In recent years the TWF has grown to provide a national voice for the industry and as the changing climate gener­ates this potential storm, focused working groups from around the industry aim to resolve these issues and ensure the UK’s leading reputation and performance is maintained.